Nov 14

Announcement: bilingual essay contest for rural Chinese students

Written by admin on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Filed under:Announcements, education, language | Tags:, , ,
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“Voices of Change:  Educational reform I’d expect”

While Chinese education has experienced rapid development in the past decade, there are numerous challenges, which caused people to call education to be one of the “three mountains (healthcare, housing, and education)” that lie before ordinary Chinese. The media, however, are filled with voices of cynicism and pessimism, or groundless praises from vested interest groups who are anxious to maintain the status quo. Key stakeholders, especially students, are tragically underrepresented or even voiceless as China stands at the crossroads of her educational reform.

Foolsmountain, a group blog by overseas Chinese and international friends, hope to give voice to these underrepresented students in the ongoing dialogue about Chinese education. We hope to use an essay contest to let students express their expectations of education. We would also like to share with our readers authentic stories about Chinese education.

This contest, broadly titled “Voices of Change:  Educational reform I’d expect”, is aimed chiefly at high school students in rural areas in China. Participants have unlimited choices in the ways they tell their stories or share their perspectives, as long as they can keep the essay within 1,500 words. We do not welcome entries that serve only to vent dissatisfaction, or praises that do not contribute to the improvement of the system. Rather, we look for original thoughts and constructive suggestions, or perceptions of what education “should be”, as compared to what “it is” . Participants can submit their articles in either English or Chinese, and prizes will be given for both categories.

How to Participate:
If you are a high school student in or from rural China, we look forward to hearing your underrepresented voices through these articles. Please submit your entry by email to essay@foolsmountain.org. The deadline is February 14, 2010,Chinese New Year.  Prizes will be announced on February 28, 2010, the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Please include your real name and contact information. Photos of yourself and your school are also welcome but not required.  We will not disclose your contact information, but we may publish your article, your photo(s) and/or your school’s photo(s). By participating in this competition, you agree to grant Foolsmountain and our sponsoring media the right to use or quote from your contributed articles and photos.

If you are a reader who may know of schools or students that could benefit from this competition, please pass on our announcement. Your help is greatly appreciated.

In either of the two categories, three prizes will be given:

1st prize:  RMB1500.00
2nd prize: RMB1000.00
3rd prize: RMB500.00

Finalists’ articles will be published in the Foolsmountain blog as well as our partners’ web sites (if applicable).

About Foolsmountain:
Foolsmountain is a group blog not affiliated with any organizations. It was set up by overseas Chinese who share a passion to improve China by learning from best practices around the world, and a desire to tell the Chinese story to the rest of the world. Our unique voices and even-handed approach to Chinese issues have brought us to the attention of numerous readers around the world, as well as major international media such as the Guardian of UK. Though we are still searching for better ways to improve the blog and increase our impact, our current posts have already played a small role in reducing stereotypical profiling of China in western media, and have contributed to a more in-depth understanding of China and its issues from readers who use us as an alternative source of information. This contest is part of our effort to increase the exposure of ordinary Chinese to the rest of the world.

This contest is generously supported by donations from patrons of this web site. Each cent you donate to this contest will be used towards giving voice and practical assistance to under-represented and underprivileged students in rural China. We still welcome your donations to this effort. You may send your contribution to donate@foolsmountain.org if using paypal or click on the Amazon link on the sidebar so we can receive a referral fee if you make a purchase. Please visit our store/donation page for more options and details.





“变革的声音:我心目中的教育改革”愚公移山双语作文比赛面向全国农村高中学生,征集作文。作文形式不拘,自由发挥,但篇幅要求在1500字以内。在作文主题上,不欢迎纯粹发牢骚,或是无原则的赞美,而希望参赛者针对具体问题,提出独到见解或具体建议;或是针对现有的优势,好的做法,提出进一步改进或推广的建议; 也可写自己心目中理想的教育。‘

如果您是来自农村的高中学生,我们希望通过这些文章,听到您的声音。您的文章可用电子邮件方式提交给essay@foolsmountain.org. 也可用传统邮件方式,交给合作媒体。截止日期为2010年2月14日,农历新年。 我们将在2010年2月28日元宵节公布获奖名单。






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9 Responses to “Announcement: bilingual essay contest for rural Chinese students”

  1. admin Says:

    I just want to make clear that although this post bears my handle, this project is a group effort. More specifically, it was BMY who first came up with the idea and Berlinf who took the lead in writing the post. Many others helped too.

  2. Raj Says:

    I would just like to say that I think this is an excellent idea. I hope that many people participate in this, as we need to hear as many voices as possible.

    Good luck to all!

  3. berlinf Says:

    LC, BMY, Dewang, and all, thanks for all your work.

    Since readers in China may not be able to read this, if anybody wants to forward the information to friends, could you please forward this link:



  4. Uln Says:

    Great initiative, I can’t wait to see what they write.

    One comment regarding the limit of characters of the essays: 1500 words is not equivalent length of 1500字. As it is, the essays done in Chinese will be considerably shorter in content than those in English. From what I have measured in translated books and spoken with professional translators, a rough equivalent factor is 1,7. This means that 1500 words in English would have the equivalent in content of 2,500字. Perhaps it would be more fair to adjust this number?

  5. Berlin Says:

    ULN, I am afraid that it is going to be hard for high school students in China to write up to 2500 words in a foreign language. That may intimidate them:-)

  6. justkeeper Says:

    Anyone in China who is able to write a 1500 words essay in fluent, or even readable English should have been well-educated and is not likely to be in need of our support, no?

  7. Berlin Says:

    This is more of a merit-based award for good writing for students generally from the underrepresented areas. Mandatory education is now free in the rural areas, so money is not as much an issue as it was in the past, at least based on what I hear. Students do not get driven out of school because they cannot afford it. If someone find that I am wrong, I humbly ask for your corrections.

    I think the bigger problem is that few people are listening to these students. They really don’t have a voice in the media. Nobody is paying attention to them and some of their perceptions and sociological factors could be discovered if we try to let them speak. For instance in our very first entry, I found that students may drop out due to the farmers’ perception that schooling is of no use given the fact that many college students cannot find jobs. It’s not that some bureaucrats or school administrators’ faults (though they have their share of problems and wrongdoings which this contest may help us to see) are keeping them out of schools.

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